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    Ingles Markets Reports Higher Sales in Fourth Quarter

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Southeastern retailer Ingles Markets today reported higher net income and sales in its fourth quarter.

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Southeastern retailer Ingles Markets today reported higher net income and sales in its fourth quarter. Net income was $8.4 million, compared to $3.8 million for the 2002 fourth quarter. Sales increased 3.7 percent, with comparable store sales up 2.1 percent over the same period last year.

    Ingles also reported a 15 percent increase in net income for fiscal year 2003 over fiscal year 2002. Net income was $17.0 million for the year ended Sept. 27, 2003, compared to $14.7 million for the year ended Sept. 28, 2002.

    During fiscal 2003, Ingles opened four new stores, replaced one store, completed major remodel/expansions of three stores, completed minor remodels of three stores and closed four older stores.

    "This year we celebrated our fortieth year in business," said chairman and c.e.o. Robert P. Ingle. "We have achieved sales growth every year since we have been in business, and this year was no exception."

    Sales growth was strong in the second half of the year after a slower start in the first half of the year, Ingle noted, attributing the growth to a rebounding economy combined with aggressive promotional activity.

    Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Ingles Markets operates 198 supermarkets. In conjunction with its supermarket operations, the company also operates 74 neighborhood shopping centers, all but 16 of which contain an Ingles supermarket.

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